Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Ruth C-L. Chao

Second Advisor

Jennifer Gafford

Third Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer Cornish


Acculturation, Military, Queer, Reintegration, Transgender, Veteran


As United States military policy continues to evolve and affirm the accession and retention of trans and genderqueer (TGQ) service members, more TGQ people will join and ultimately separate from military service. Reintegration is a term that represents the experience of beginning to separate from the military and transitioning into civilian life, and those who encounter it are referred to as military service member-veterans (MSMVs). Though empirical knowledge of reintegration for MSMVs overall continues to improve, cultural relevance has only recently been considered, and no research has investigated the reintegration experiences of TGQ MSMVs specifically. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the reintegration experiences of TGQ MSMVs from an acculturation framework. Within a constructivist-transcendental phenomenological approach, a sample of TGQ veterans were interviewed about their experiences of leaving military culture and re-entering civilian culture, including their experiences of resilience and distress and their encounters with supports and stressors. Six themes emerged; Reintegration is: An Ongoing, Complex Process that Depends on Civilian Context; Being Uninformed About the Realities and Possibilities; Navigating the Personal Impact of Inter-System Gender Prejudice; Redeveloping Identity and Worldview Across Cultures; Moving Forward with Empowered Purpose; and Pursuing Intra- and Interpersonal Stability to Manage a Sense of Loss. Additionally, smaller groups of themes emerged regarding military culture, civilian culture, advice for reintegrating TGQ MSMVs, and recommendations for reintegration service providers. The results explore the continued relevance of gender and gender identity, a cross-cultural identity transformation, and the system-wide resources and impacts that respectively facilitated or challenged TGQ MSMVs’ experience of reintegration. Thus, the application of gender-affirmative practices, effective reintegration services, inclusive policy, and research that shares voice will be essential to help address the shared and unique needs of reintegrating TGQ MSMVs across military and civilian cultures.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Joseph A. Galluzzo

File size

337 pgs

File format





Counseling psychology, Military studies, LGBTQ studies

Available for download on Tuesday, September 26, 2023